Yoga exercises reduce the side effects of radiation treatment for prostate cancer
Yoga involves various mental and physical exercises. Many people use yoga to relax from our stressful everyday life. Researchers have now discovered that yoga can help prevent prostate cancer radiation exposure.
The researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania found in their study that yoga can reduce the side effects of radiation treatment for prostate cancer. The physicians published the results of the study in the medical journal "International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics".Yoga lessons have positive effects on body and mind. Researchers have now found that regular yoga exercises can even reduce the side effects of radiation treatment for prostate cancer. (Image: WavebreakMediaMicro / fotolia.com)
Regular yoga reduces the negative effects of radiation treatment
When men with prostate cancer participated twice a week in structured yoga classes while undergoing radiation therapy, this reduces the side effects that occur. Those affected reported less fatigue, better urinary function and better sexual functions, the authors explain.
Subjects were divided into two groups
All patients in the study underwent external prostate cancer radiotherapy for between six and nine weeks. The participants were divided into two groups. One group took part twice a week in yoga classes, the other subjects served only as a control group, the doctors report.
Subjects participated in two 75-minute yoga sessions each week
Each yoga session lasted 75 minutes. The participants began with a five-minute exercise in breathing and so-called centering techniques. Typical sessions included sitting, standing and lying positions, which were modified with the help of props, the scientists explain. This allowed the exercises to be adapted to the needs and limitations of the patients.
Participants were regularly asked about their degree of fatigue
The subjects were evaluated primarily according to their degree of fatigue. Each participant completed a questionnaire on the so-called fatigue severity and the impact on everyday life, explain the researchers. For the first time, the subjects had to complete the questionnaire between two and three weeks before starting their radiotherapy. During radiotherapy, the questionnaire had to be answered twice a week. In the last week of radiation treatment or the last time you attended the yoga class, a final questionnaire was completed, add the experts.
At the beginning of the treatment, all participants reported very little fatigue
Before the patients started treatment, all participants in both groups were at the lower end of the scale. In other words, they reported low fatigue. As the treatment progressed, we observed a difference between the two groups, explain the scientists.
Yoga lowered the fatigue levels
Patients in the yoga group reported lower levels of fatigue over time as they participated in yoga classes, the researchers say. Patients in the control group tended to be in the opposite direction and reported greater fatigue, the more the treatment progressed.
Typical increase in fatigue was completely absent in the yoga group
Actually, doctors assume that the reported fatigue increases in the fourth or fifth week of a typical radiation treatment. In the yoga group, however, this effect was not observed. Both the severity of fatigue and the ability of patients to lead a normal life seemed to be positively affected by the yoga class, the researchers add.
Usually, 85 percent of those treated have problems with their sexual health
The researchers also evaluated both groups for their sexual health. Sexual dysfunction usually affects up to 85 percent of patients receiving radiotherapy during the period of treatment, say the authors.
Yoga prevents negative effects on sexual health
The study used the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF) questionnaire. In this survey, the scale ranged from 0 to 25 points. People with ratings below 12 points had moderate to severe erectile dysfunction. The score of the yoga group remained largely unchanged. The control group experienced a decrease in their score during treatment.
Yoga also improved the urinary function of the treated
Yoga is known to strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor. Eventually, this effect may contribute to the yoga group not experiencing a decline in scores, say the authors. This could also be related to better values of the urinary function. The results indicate improved or stable urinary function, the researchers report. This finding is consistent with other studies on the effects of physical therapy of the pelvic floor muscles.
Yoga leads to a faster improvement of the emotional well-being
The study also found that while the emotional well-being of both groups increased as treatment progressed, the results of the evaluation improved more quickly in the yoga class. An evaluation of physical well-being showed a similar pattern. (As)